By Marc C. Whitt
I have yet to meet a music parents organization that believes it has enough money. As financial demands for music programs increase, school districts are forced to work with tighter financial resources.
In order to maintain the quality and excellence a band, choir or orchestra program deserves, a successful fundraising program is paramount. Long gone are the days when music programs could simply sponsor the twice-a-year fundraising drive.
Today, music program fundraising must be continuous and executed with sophistication. Anything less will only attract minimal results.
One of the most critical steps a music parents organization must take as it seeks to raise several thousand dollars is to prepare and execute a fundraising plan. Such a plan will keep your organization and its officers focused, on track and in a position to measure fundraising successes throughout the year.
Here are a few ways a fundraising plan will benefit your boosters organization:
- A plan determines your agreed-upon priority fundraising projects for the fiscal year.
No more will you have to spend valuable time boosters meeting after boosters meeting wondering what fundraiser should be undertaken and when. With the blessing from your organization’s members and music director, the plan will enable you to keep focused.
- A plan determines how much you need to raise in a fiscal year.
After the budget for the fiscal year has been determined, a fundraising plan will keep everyone on the same page. No more will you have to guess how much should be raised. You’ll now know as the fundraising course has been mapped out.
- A plan keeps you from stepping all over yourself.
Rhythm is very much a part of any music program. A fundraising plan, too, provides your boosters organization with rhythm as it provides direction, flow and pattern; you know the timeline for each fundraiser.
- A plan adds philanthropic sophistication for your organization.
There are plenty of school-related organizations that ask money from the same people from the same businesses or the same neighborhoods you plan to contact. A fundraising plan allows you to stand out among your donors and donor prospects. When donors or prospects know you are organized in such a fashion, the “tippers” often become much more significant “funders” for your program. The plan also protects your donors and prospects from being contacted by more than one person from your boosters organization. After all, ever knocked on someone’s door for money only to hear them say: “I’ve had five people from your organization come by to see me. I’ve already given!” Pretty embarrassing, isn’t it?
- A plan maximizes big-dollar projects and sheds light on minimal projects.
One of the last things you want to do is exhaust your much-valued volunteers by doing too many fundraisers that reap very little financial reward. It is far better on the health of your volunteers and financial success of your organization’s bottom line that you focus, instead, on fundraisers that will reap greater amounts. A fundraising plan will clearly determine those high-result projects.
- A plan allows you to monitor your fundraising success along the way.
Each fundraiser your organization undertakes should be viewed as a mini-campaign that has a beginning, a midway point and a closing. A designated person or two who are trained in advance to lead as fundraising chairs can keep close watch on how well your fundraiser is doing. As a result, they can better supervise and encourage their teams while keeping the booster organization and music director informed.
It still takes people who are passionate about their cause to be successful in fundraising. A fundraising plan, however, will catapult your efforts as you become much more organized.
Marc C. Whitt is a veteran of nonprofit fundraising, public relations and marketing, and is currently in his 12th year as a band and choir parent. Marc also serves as the Digital Marketing/Public Relations Manager for AMP. He can be reached @marcwhitt.